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Blog /
Living Soil

Compost at Home: A Step-By-Step Guide


minute read

Written by

Revival Gardening

Blog /
Living Soil

Compost at Home: A Step-By-Step Guide


minute read

Written by

Revival Gardening

These days, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce waste and create an overall more sustainable environment to live in. Whether it’s scraps from cooking or cleaning your garden, that seemingly useless waste can actually be turned into something useful–compost!

Sure, you can probably just buy some compost from a local store or even order it online–but where’s the sustainability in that? Instead, why not try DIY composting? It’s a simple and quick way to turn your food and garden waste into delicious veggies and beautiful plants–literally!

Got your interest yet? Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to start composting at home!

A DIY compost bin and vegetable scraps

Why Compost? 

So why should someone go through the hassle of composting at home, especially when you can just buy large bags of it from various markets and stores? Here are a few reasons:

  • Composting has a number of benefits that contribute to soil health and waste reduction.
  • Compost is a natural fertilizer that contains an abundance of nutrients and minerals. This helps to enhance the soil, leading to improved plant growth.
  • The structure of the soil is also improved. Compost helps with water retention, aeration, and aggregation.
  • Since compost is made from kitchen and yard scraps, it’s a simple and effective way to reduce the amount of waste you produce.
  • Composting at home also reduces the workload of waste management systems since you’re doing it at home instead of relying on an external service.

In short, DIY composting at home is a simple way to help reduce the amount of waste you produce while also improving the quality of soil in your yard. If you’re interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle and are looking for eco-friendly practices to pick up, then composting is one of the simplest and most effective ways to do so!

Types and Methods of Composting

The goal of composting is to naturally decompose organic matter, breaking it down into nutrients and minerals that can be absorbed by the soil. It’s a simple task, but there are many different ways to get started with composting at home.

Traditional Bin or Pile Composting

The standard method of composting that most homeowners follow is to use kitchen scraps and yard waste, such as leaves and grass clippings. You collect them into a designated bin or pile and with regular turning and mixing, you’ll eventually get natural compost.

To make your composting more efficient, you’ll want to understand what green materials and brown materials are.

Green materials are nitrogen-rich scraps. This can include things like fruit and vegetable peels, grass clippings, or used coffee grounds.

Brown materials are carbon-rich scraps. This includes stuff like dried leaves, straw, newspaper, cardboard, and other dried plant materials. 

Having a good mix of both green and brown materials will help to create a more balanced compost. If you’re ever in doubt if your scraps are considered green or brown materials, you can generally separate them by simply looking at their color. Green materials are natural plant scraps, and brown materials are often dried or wood materials.

For effective traditional composting, it’s important to choose a well-drained location as you’ll occasionally be adding water to your compost pile or bin. This is because composting microorganisms need moisture to thrive. If it’s a dry season, then occasionally watering your compost will be necessary.

To speed things up, aeration tools like a garden fork can help to mix the compost and introduce more air into the compost. The tools can also be used to turn the compost so that it can breakdown more easily.

Here are the general steps for composting at home with this traditional method:

  1. Pick a location for your compost bin or pile. Remember that it should be a well-drained location since it will require watering.
  2. Alternative layers of brown and green materials. You’ll ideally want a ratio of around 2 to 3 brown materials to 1 green material. Try to avoid scraps that might attract pests, such as meat and oily foods.
  3. Water the pile to keep it moist. If you water it too much, add more materials to the compost bit.
  4. Aerate and turn the compost by using a garden fork. Turning helps to keep the air circulation going through the compost which introduces oxygen to speed up the decomposition process.
  5. Once the compost has turned into a dark and crumbly material with an earthy smell, it’s ready to be used. This can take anywhere from a few months to a year depending on how large your compost bin is. It’s a good idea to remove any materials that have yet to decompose before you use it.

As you can see, traditional composting is very straightforward. The secret to success is having a balanced ratio of green to brown materials, and ensuring that the compost is turned, aerated, and watered on a regular basis.

A man waters a vermcomposting worm bin


Vermicomposting is a different kind of composting method that uses a special composting worm to break down organic waste into compost. The worms used are generally very effective at breaking down kitchen scraps and organic materials, transforming them into vermicompost or worm castings. This can be done on a small scale, making it great for peoplewith limited space.

Here are the general steps for vermicomposting:

  1. You’ll need a container for vermicomposting. It can be a worm bin made specifically for vermicomposting, or it can be a bin you’ve made yourself. It should have a lid and be contained in a moist and dark environment.
  2. Start with a layer of bedding material. This is usually something like shredded cardboard or paper. It should be moistened by spraying water.
  3. Next, add the composting worms and spread them evenly over the surface of the bedding.
  4. Now you can add kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peels. Try not to add anything that could create unpleasant odors, such as garlic and onions.
  5. Keep an eye on the vermicomposting bin. Ensure it stays moist, and add bedding materials if it’s too wet.
  6. The vermicompost will be ready when it resembles a crumbly coffee ground. You can add new bedding and scraps to one side of the bin so that the worms slowly migrate over, leaving the vermicompost ready to be used.

Vermicomposting is a sustainable method of composting that creates a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer. It doesn’t require much maintenance, and can even be done indoors since all it requires is a container.

Composting Takes Time

It’s important to remember that composting is a long-term investment. Traditional composting can take several months or even up to a year depending on how much material you’re attempting to compost. For other methods like vermicomposting, you’ll need to invest in buying containers and the worms needed for the method.

It’s good to start composting at home as early as possible so that you can reap the benefits sooner. Even though composting takes a while, it’s great for the long-term health of your soil and plants.

Various Revival Gardening soil amendments laid out in a wheelbarrow

Immediate Soil Improvement

In addition to long-term composting methods, there are a couple of immediate soil improvement methods that you can use as well. These methods are a great way to enrich your soil while you set up a composting bin.

  • Worm Castings - Also known as vermicast or worm humus, this is the material produced by vermicomposting and is the result of worms breaking down organic waste. Is packed with nutrients and a huge benefit to plant and soil health.
  • Revival Plant Tea - Plant tea is a nutrient-rich liquid that is made by steeping compost or composted materials in water. This essentially creates a “tea” that can be sprayed onto plants. We've made our own version that combines karanja meal, neem meal, alfalfa meal, North Atlantic sea kelp and malted barley grains.
  • Basalt Rock Dust - Adding basalt rock dust into your compost, vermicompost or directly into your soil can significantly boost mineralization, providing essential minerals to the soil. Its addition allows for better adherence of soil biology, which can enhance soil fertility and plant growth.
  • Neem Cake - Neem cake is the byproduct of oil extraction from neem tree seeds. It’s a widely used eco-friendly soil amendment which gradually releases nutrients into the soil. It’s also used as a way to control pests and protect plants.


DIY composting is a great way to break down waste food and yard scraps and turn it into an eco-friendly fertilizer for improved plant and soil health. It’s easy to do, it helps the environment, and it gives numerous benefits to you as well.

Composting at home is simple and only takes a few materials to get started. However, it does take a while to see some results, but thankfully, it doesn’t take much work to start composting at home and there’s not much maintenance involved.

However, if you do want more immediate results to improve soil and plant conditions, then using immediate soil amendments can be a better solution.

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